The members of the U.N. Security Council who are against going to war in Iraq say that the inspectors working under Hans Blix must be given more time to verify that Saddam Hussein has not carried out his promise to destroy all his weapons of mass destruction. The U.S. and Britain say that he has not done so and is in violation of Resolution 1441. France wants Blix and his inspectors to decide if Iraq has complied with the Security Council resolutions.
This was not the intention of the Security Council. Moreover, serious questions have been raised about Mr. Blix’s integrity. He failed to mention in his oral report to the Council the discovery of a drone with a very large wingspan that made it illegal. This violation was buried in his lengthy written report. We had been warned last November that Blix should not be trusted to carry out the search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Per Ahlmark, a former deputy prime minister of Sweden, wrote an article titled “Sending in a Dupe to Disarm Saddam.”
Ahlmark had been Blix’s boss in 1960. He had followed his career closely since then, observing him as Sweden’s foreign minister for a year and later as director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna. Ahlmark described Blix as amiable but “politically weak and easily fooled.” He said, “I can think of few European officials less suitable for a showdown with Saddam.
He went on to say that when Blix headed the IAEA before the Persian Gulf war, he assured the world, after several inspections, that nothing alarming was happening in Iraq. He gave Saddam the report he had hoped for when he began hiding his atomic factories and nuclear ambitions. Ahlmark reminded us that Saddam was obsessed with procuring weapons of mass destruction? chemical and biological warheads as well as atomic bombs and the missiles to deliver them. Former experts of Iraq’s nuclear weapons program, who have escaped to the West, have confirmed this.
Blix, whose field was international law, worked with Swedish ambassador Rolf Ekeus, as one of the leaders of the U.N. disarmament inspectors. Ahlmark claims that Blix was easily fooled by the Iraqis because he was unfamiliar with technical details. He says that David Kay, a highly-skilled inspector, discovered material confirming that Iraq was only twelve to eighteen months away from producing a nuclear device.
How did Blix end up heading the current U.N. inspection team? Ahlmark says that in 1999 Rolf Ekeus and Hans Blix were among the candidates and that experts in the field were for Ekeus. He said they described Ekeus as “brilliant,” and Blix as “terrible.” He says that France and Russia consulted Baghdad to see whom Saddam would prefer, and they ended up supporting Blix. The Clinton administration went along with them. Ahlmark warned that the U.N. “neglected its duties by asking a wimp to lead the inspectors who are supposed to stand up to the brute of Baghdad.”